Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a long weekend - 2

2nd May 2011

No doubt about it, this classed as the “last weekend of the month”. No: no problems reported from the Carmarthen direction, well, other than a phone conversation about a minor fuel leak, but progress has not been without problems.

Me and the crane

I don’t normally make much comment on my commercial activities on this blog – it is after all “Weekend Rails” – except where they overlap into the odd Saturday, and this was one such example. Over the last few weeks I have been occupied getting an ex-Jarvis P&T crane up and running in Doncaster for the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel & Wakes Colne in Essex. I had some problems getting the engine to run and stay running (traced to an issue with the fuel lift pump) but our allotted time with the liquidators was up, and after operating it with a temporary gravity fuel feed (during which I swung the jib around by following the instruction manual propped up against the windscreen!) we arranged to move it down to Chappel over Thursday/Friday. Andrew was away at his girl friend’s, so offered to visit and give me a hand last Saturday. Steph came along and our trip was slowed by the M11 being closed for 2 junctions, and as Andrew had also volunteered me to collect the finished transmission cooler ex D9500 from Wansford, my normal 3hrs 10 minute schedule got stretched to nearly 5 hours. But then, having extracted the lift pump from the side of the fuel pump (being a V-8 engine this requires draining the cooling system down and removing the air compressor) we found that the diaphragms were intact but engine oil was where it ought not to be. Thus a full refurb is essential, and a return as soon as able. So Saturday was a bit of a washout, though eased by seeing their 0-6-2T in action with two ex GER carriages in wonderful weather.

N7 at work

Sunday: Back to Rowsley and “Pluto”. The vacuum swan-necks had been promised back from machining on Friday, but alas they were incomplete so Andrew had to content himself with cutting and fitting the pipes at the front end to where the short riser, swan neck and hose will ultimately be. I meantime got around to deciding on exactly where to mount the replacement battery switch would be, and drilling the cab bulkhead to suit. Of course, the studs on the new switch are thicker than the old, so some of the lugs can be drilled out but two needed replacement. I fitted the vacuum duplex gauge into the instrument panel, removing the blank that I fitted some years ago to cover the hole from whence I had taken the original gauge out. And finally I checked that the full size paper template of the mounting plate intended to carry the driver’s brake valve did in fact line up correctly – so much easier to correct any mistakes on paper rather than finished profile. Half way home Andrew’s phone rang – was this our chop saw and 110V transformer left outside Rowsley loco shed? Thanks Robin, we’d quite forgotten..

Monday: On Sunday night Andrew popped out to see a friend, and returned home feeling very unwell. This feeling persisted into Monday – a migraine with all the trimmings, I hasten to add, not a hangover! – and although he sorted out through some of our nut and bolt stocks, by noon he had declared himself unfit. Dutifully I pointed the van back to Rowsley. When finally I reached it, I had with me the hydraulic cable crimper: a lovely beast, rated for up to 240mm cables – that’s traction motor sized – but gives a decent squeeze down to the 10mm cables that feed Pluto’s control and charge system. I also had to tidy up the aperture through which the battery switch knob emerges through the casing side, and measure it for a suitable fabrication for appearance and weather protection. Finally I crawled underneath – fortunately I am as slim as an emaciated beanpole since “Pluto” is stood on plain ballasted track and its buffer beams, crosstretchers and drive chains do not afford space for swinging a cat – and unwound four studs on the left hand side of the engine, transferring them to the tapped holes on the right hand side where I intend them to hold the pad which will carry the bracket for the exhauster.

Ah well, with swan-necks and a batch of profiles hopefully ready this week, maybe next weekend will see loads of progress.

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